US appeals court judge endorses legal marijuana

Posted Nov. 10, 2010, at 3:09 p.m.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A judge on the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals says the United States should consider legalizing marijuana.

Federal judge Juan Torruella told a law school audience in Puerto Rico that experimenting with legalization of marijuana and perhaps other drugs is a better way to reduce drug abuse and crime.

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The 77-year-old judge says it’s the only “realistic” alternative since the drug war has been “lost” at a high cost to society. His comments Tuesday at the University of Puerto Rico were reported by the newspaper El Nuevo Dia.

Torruella sits on the Boston-based 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The Puerto Rico native was nominated to be a federal judge by President Gerald Ford and elevated to the appeals court by President Ronald Reagan in 1984. The circuit includes Puerto Rico, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.